The CSIS Middle East Program is dedicated to producing “opportunity driven” research rather than “threat driven” commentary. Rather than merely reacting to crises, the program seeks to understand how emerging trends, opportunities, and pressures affect the choices people and their leaders make, with an eye toward contributing to the policy debate in the United States and abroad.

In addition to exploring regional trends, key states, and non-state actors, our current research dives into topics such as shifting dynamics in the Gulf; Asian strategies towards the Middle East; challenges related to displacement in the Levant; and environmental issues in the region.

The CSIS Middle East Program’s work ranges from detailed reports to brief analysis papers and can be found in both the academic and popular press. We frequently host roundtables and conferences inviting dignitaries and thought-leaders to join us in unpacking the Middle East.

Everyone on our team has lived in the Middle East, and we have done research in most countries in the region—often in local languages. Our networks span the Gulf, the Levant, and North Africa.

Experts and Staff


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Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program
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Daniel Sharp
Associate Director and Associate Fellow, Middle East Program
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Caleb Harper
Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, Middle East Program
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Jason Rezaian
Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Middle East Program